Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beyond Verlander, what can we expect from the draft

Here are the Twins 2012 draft choices, at least as currently projected (thanks to
North Dakota Fan for this information.):

"Minnesota Twins 2012 MLB Draft Order
First Round: 2nd pick
Supplemental Round: 1st pick (32nd overall), 11th pick (42nd overall)
Second Round: 3rd pick (64th overall), 12th pick (73rd overall) "


I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what players got taken in those spots. The last time the Twins picked near the second spot in the draft was in 2001, the Joe Mauer draft. Mauer, of course was the first pick although a number of people at the time critcized the Twins as cheap for taking him instead of the guy taken in the number two spot. Here are the players who were taken in each of the positions listed above:

2001 Draft:
Mark Prior
*Michael Woods
*Jon Skaggs
Justin Gillman
*Cole Barthel

As it turned out, Prior was the only one of these choices that played in the major leagues. So I looked at the next couple years:

2002 Draft:
B.J. Upton
*Luke Hagerty
*Blair Johnson
Brian McCann
*Taber Lee

2003 Draft:
Rickie Weeks
*Matt Murton
*Shane Costa
Estee Harris
*Jake Fox

Besides the guys taken in the number two spot, Brian McCann is the only player here that would be called a success. Murton and Costa, supplementary choices taken in 2003, also had brief stints in the big leagues.

Finally I looked at 2004 and 2005, the last two times the Twins had this many extra choices:

2004 Draft:
Justin Verlander
*Zach Jackson
*Brett Smith
Hunter Pence
*Jeff Frazier

2005 Draft:
Alex Gordon
Chaz Roe
Clay Buchholz
Kris Harvey
Kevin Slowey

This creates a lot more optimism about the prospects for those later draft choices. Once again the best players by far were the guys taken in that number two spot. But Hunter Pence is a solid major league player, Clay Buchholz is a solid major league starter and Slowey has some success as well.

To put this in perspective here are the draft position and player taken in 2004 and 2005 by the Twins:

(20) Plouffe
(22) Perkins
(25) Waldrop
(35) Fox
(39) Rainville
(61) Swarzak


(25) Garza
(29) Sanchez
(54) Kelly
(73) Slowey
(80) Thompson
(84) Duensing

I am not going to try to evaluate that list except to point out that we don't really know what we got from the 2004 draft even seven years later. I suppose Perkins established himself last year, but Waldrop, Plouffe and Swarzak are all still question marks. You might say the same thing of Duensing, at least to whether he is a starter or just a bullpen arm.

If you look at that list of number two picks, I think the Twins would be happy to have any of them on the roster, with the exception of Prior who was derailed by an injury. If you look at the rest of the choices, its a long shot that any of them will be contributors at the major league level.

You can get a perspective on relative worth by looking at signing bonuses in each slot. Every one of the first 8 picks in last year's draft got a bigger bonus than the combined bonuses paid to the three Twins first round picks. And the Twins paid Harrison and Boyd over slot. By that measure, Twins second choice may be more valuable than all the rest of their choices combined.

1 comment:

Jim H said...

Including their 3rd round pick, the Twins will have 6 picks within or at least pretty close to the first 100 choices. That is an arbitrary number and not all will be sucessful. In fact if the Twins are unlucky maybe most will not make the majors. Still, having that many high choices could give you a very good return.

What is interesting, is to speculate a bit on how the Twins might use those picks. If they follow past patterns, probably 3 of the top 6 picks will be college pitchers. At least 1 toolsy position player will be taken. Maybe a high school pitcher and then a power bat.

In the past the college pitchers were most likely to make the majors, while a toolsy high school position player would be most likely to have high impact.

Obviously the Twins will take the "best" players available, factoring in signability and needs.

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